A Chicago museum is building a new program to teach art, promoting artists of color at the same time.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is working with Romi Crawford to built an intensive semester-long art course, an alternative to traditional models of art education. The course, which is called the New Art School Modality, will begin in September.

Romi Crawford is a double-doctorate and professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she teaches and does research into the intersections of race, ethnicity, and American visual culture (art, film, and photography). She’s a museum veteran as well, formerly the curator and education director at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

“There is a crisis in arts education, and we hope the sustainability of our model will force others into realization,” said Crawford, 56, about her program.

The crisis she refers to is the loss of numerous trusted art schools. Art institutions like the San Francisco Art Institute and Watkins College in Nashville have either fallen to bankruptcy or been absorbed by larger institutions which don’t place high priorities on the arts.

The New Art School Modality at the Chicago museum will, hopefully, fill in some of the gap. It has space for about 50 students, and will give them each a free course in Black art history taught while working alongside some of the very artists who made that history. It is, in some ways, a return to the way things were done under the old masters, but in a modern, experimental way.

“This is a hack to a different kind of education,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, adding that she hoped the program would make art more accessible. “My measure of success for this program would be if this cohort of students considered themselves apprentices to the arts and are hired into positions on the same level as those with more traditional degrees.”

The program is free to students, backed by a large grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, and does not currently provide any diploma or college credit.